1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
One doesn't need to know anything at all about the ... John Dean's suggestion about the writer's or translators' intentions did.

You have avoided the issue only to reiterate your criticism. Your sentence contains no support for your criticism except a ... something about them". I know "something" about them too, but not enough to be able to answer the OP's question.

OP's question has been answered, as well as it can be, by several posters, including at least one with access to the original text. There is no doubt that either the original, or the translation, is garbled to some extent, so that, strictly speaking, it doesn't have any coherent content at all.
The major problem with your criticism is this: "to an entity that does not include any indication of ... character is known as a phonogram." Where does it say in his sentence that no indication of sound is included?

How about "no phonetic element is added"?
You have misread and misunderstood the sentence, it appears. Add to this the knowledge that some Chinese characters have no ... also the sound of the character. Therefore, your criticism of John Dean's interpretation seems to me to be poorly grounded.

The "former type," as LSD and others insisted when I was presenting John DeFrancis's position a couple of years ago, have no explicit information about the pronunciation, so calling them "phonograms" isn't a helpful assignment of linguistic terminology.
As for the other oft-adduced type, despite what you read in popular presentations about Chinese, they are virtually nonexistent. The Chinese dialectologist David Branner insists that even such hoary examples as "WOMAN under ROOF" = 'PEACE' and "SUN beside MOON" = 'BRIGHT' are in fact radical + phonetic like all the others, leaving only a tiny residue of the type "TREE TREE TREE" = 'FOREST' to be completely non-phonological.
I think it is necessary for you to demonstrate that you know enough about Chinese characters to justify your criticism.

Was that sufficient?
But it isn't relevant to the problem of (mis)use of English technical terminology.

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
Trust me. He's got a point.

If I knew who you were, Geoff, I would be able to decide whether I could trust your judgment. I don't know anything about Peter either.

Perhaps you could take a few minutes to review the sci.lang archives, or a library catalog.
I rarely take things like this on faith. There is always someone who knows the answer; the problem is finding ... difficult Chinese sentence that seemed to make sense when they rendered it that way into English. Translators are not infallible.

With the slight problem that it doesn't make sense.
What is Peter's point? What does he know about Chinese characters? I'm seriously interested in finding out what this passage ... what has so far been said by everyone has not clarified anything except how garbled the original English translation is.

Then maybe you should consult a different book about Chinese. There are several good ones.
I will ask a sinologist friend of mine to look at the original post and offer his opinion. When I get it, I will post it here.

You could also ask for a recommendation of good books to consult instead.

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
When, and only when phonetic elements are added, they are known as zhuanzu. When no phonetic element is added, but a semantic symbol is added, the character is known as a phonogram.

And that is what makes the difference between Chinese writing and ours. They use phonograms composed of
semantics elements, we use ideograms composed of
phonetic elements.
C'est limpide.
"Peter T. Daniels" (Email Removed) wrote on 27 Dec 2003:
OP's question has been answered, as well as it can be, by several posters, including at least one with access ... or the translation, is garbled to some extent, so that, strictly speaking, it doesn't have any coherent content at all.

Yes, I agree with that. I'm happy to hear you say that after reading the rest of your post. That was the conclusion I came to.
The major problem with your criticism is this: "to an ... in his sentence that no indication of sound is included?

How about "no phonetic element is added"?[/nq]"When no phonetic is added" (to an existing character) is the full sense of what John Dean said. The character already exists. We don't know what kind of already existing character the author meant. Take, for example, the character for "east" ("tung" in Taiwan and "dong" in the PRC), which is composed of two radicals, the pictograph for "tree" (mo4) and the pictograph for "sun" (re4). What phonetic is there in that ideograph? None has been added. None exists.

Put the tree radical to the left and the meaning changes from "east" to "beams of a ceiling or roof", and it is pronounced the same, but it takes the 4th tone. Add the radical "fo4" and you get the character for "chen2", my wife's family name, so that radical acts as a phonetic for the ideograph for "east". Is that existing character "east" a phonological character? I suspect that because David Branner insists that "bright" is composed of a radical ("sun") and a phonetic ("moon"), he would also insist that "east" is composed of the radical for "tree" and the phonetic for "sun", which would make it a phonological character.

I don't know. I'm only guessing based on what you've said.
You have misread and misunderstood the sentence, it appears. Add ... John Dean's interpretation seems to me to be poorly grounded.

The "former type," as LSD and others insisted when I was presenting John DeFrancis's position a couple of years ago, have no explicit information about the pronunciation, so calling them "phonograms" isn't a helpful assignment of linguistic terminology.

I can understand why. That is one reason I wanted to know how the original author defined both "an existing character" and "a phonogram" and wanted some examples. Out of context, the sentence in English makes no sense at all.
As for the other oft-adduced type, despite what you read in popular presentations about Chinese, they are virtually nonexistent. The ... all the others, leaving only a tiny residue of the type "TREE TREE TREE" = 'FOREST' to be completely non-phonological.

And if it completely non-phonological, then the pronunciation is something that has to be learned and memorized, just as the unpredictable irregular verbs in English must be?
I think it is necessary for you to demonstrate that you know enough about Chinese characters to justify your criticism.

Was that sufficient?

Yes, that was sufficient. Thank you. It's good to know that there is someone here well, in sci.lang who is so knowledgeable about Chinese characters.
But it isn't relevant to the problem of (mis)use of English technical terminology.

But it still seems to me that the translators likely misused the English technical terminology, and that without specialized knowledge of the phonology of Chinese characters, one cannot be expected to make sense of what the translators, apparently, said.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
"Peter T. Daniels" (Email Removed) wrote on 27 Dec 2003:
Perhaps you could take a few minutes to review the sci.lang archives, or a library catalog.

I am posting from AUE. I wouldn't have been reading this post had it not been crossposted. Had I been lurking in sci.lang I may have done so for a day or two about 3 or 4 years ago I'm sure I would have already learned who most of the posters there are. I normally don't check library catalogs or archives to find out if a poster is a published author or a well-known scholar. That kind of information is usually revealed in the normal posts. Had I any intention of becoming a regular in sci.lang, I would do a thorough investigation before joining any discussions.
I will look you up, though, Peter. I don't think I'd learn much by plugging "Geoff" into any library catalog or Google search, though.
I rarely take things like this on faith. There is ... rendered it that way into English. Translators are not infallible.

With the slight problem that it doesn't make sense.

I know it doesn't make sense.

I have already checked my local bookstores here in Taiwan, but there is nothing that advanced in English, only the popular press stuff.

I will follow your advice and ask you for a recommendation of two or three good books in English about Chinese characters.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Trust me. He's got a point.

If I knew who you were, Geoff, I would be able to decide whether I could trust your judgment. I ... about why the author or translator might have used "phonograms" for those characters which are, in his system, not zhuanzhu.

Sorry - the cross-posting thing trips me up sometimes. I have been a regular poster here in sci.lang for a few years - mainly on matters related to arcane points of Chinese language. My background includes a PhD in Classical Chinese and many (too many?) years of continuing spare time study of things like the written forms and reconstructed
pronunciation of Chinese at some fairly early periods - both for the fun of it and to sharpen my literary translations of Chinese poetry (large anthology coming soon). I tend to regard passages like the one we are discussing as being attempts to make something very simple look very complicated - thus justifying long and abstruse academic monographs on a topic than can be adequately explained on one side of a 3"x5" card - if you write small enough.
As for pedigrees, I suppose if you google "Geoffrey (R.) Waters" and various versions of "Chinese" and "Classical Chinese," you'll mainly hit my exact namesake, who is a NYC art dealer with an Asian specialty, but also some references to me and my modest scholarly and literary output over the last thirty-something years..
You could also try Peter's and my names at Amazon if you want to buy a few books to contribute to our continuing financial well-being (if only).
Now back to untangling those pesky logograms and phonograms!
Geoff (Email Removed) wrote on 28 Dec 2003:
Sorry - the cross-posting thing trips me up sometimes.

Thank you for all that information. I did check out Peter and I just googled you out too. Now I know that your judgments about these things are both trustworthy and valuable. As I said to Peter in reply to one of his posts, I don't read sci.lang unless it's cross-posted to AUE. You guys are way above my head, and when I lurked for a day or two some years ago, I felt that that I didn't have anything to contribute to your discussions.
I'm glad that this this question was cross-posted, though. It really piqued my interest. I am going to learn as much as I can about it.
Now back to untangling those pesky logograms and phonograms!

That's what I need to do for myself, and as soon as I find some good books on the subject, I will begin reading.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
The following sentence is from a monograph on Chinese writing: 'If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those phonograms ... existing characters to which semantic symbols were added, then the distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.'

Editorial error?
It looks to me like there is an "as phonograms" missing between "label" and "those" in the third line. Otherwise, the question is "Label them as what?"
Bart Mathias
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
I don't know what David's specific analysis of the two examples is, but the structures of characters are based on the state of the language some
2000 years ago, and modern pronunciations have in some cases divergedconsiderably. You have to pick a reconstruction and see how it coheres with the structures of the characters.
Was that sufficient?

Yes, that was sufficient. Thank you. It's good to know that there is someone here well, in sci.lang who is so knowledgeable about Chinese characters.

There are a good half-dozen regular posters to sci.lang who are native speakers of Chinese, to whom one applies for information about details. If you hang around, you'll get to know them.

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
Show more